Detroit Tigers' right-handed pitcher Justin Verlander will start for the team on Opening Day, manager Brad Ausmus announced at TigerFest on Saturday.
"Verlander will pitch day one and we'll figure out the rest later," Ausmus said.
The news is not much of a surprise, but now it is official. Verlander will start on April 3rd against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. Verlander has previously pitched Opening Day starts in Toronto, Kansas City, New York, Minnesota, and Miami. Against the Miami Marlins in 2016, Verlander was hit for three runs on three hits and two walks, but the Tigers pulled out the victory.
The 33-year-old will be making his ninth career Opening Day start, which is second-most in Detroit history to Jack Morris, who has 11 Opening Day starts. During the 2016 season, Verlander owned a 6.49 ERA through his first 34.2 innings of work. The righty finished second in the American League Cy Young voting, compiling a 3.04 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and a 254-to-57 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 227.2 innings.
The Tigers rotation will consist of Verlander, Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, Daniel Norris, and Matt Boyd. Mike Pelfrey and Anibal Sanchez will work to try and crack the rotation during Spring Training. Most likely, Sanchez, Boyd, and Pelfrey will fight for the final rotation spot. As long as the ace pitches on Opening Day, his first home start will probably come in Detroit's first home series of the season against the Boston Red Sox.null